Yeah, this has been quite the expedition.

The variety of scenery from those first few days of classic South Westland forest on the Haast Paringa Cattle Trail, the incessant boulder hopping along the coast, the Demon Trail, the hordes on the easy Greenstone/Caples, albeit interspaced with more energy expenditure going up Steele Creek, Rees and Cascade saddles.

Plenty to like about that pack of scenic highlights.

The downsides: carrying excess gear, my camera that failed to work after Day 4, and its five extra batteries, battery chargers, many extra dehydrated meals because, umm, maybe I couldn’t count, a pebble collection, used maps, etc. The numbers of occasional trampers in the huts.

Not too many named tracks left to do in the South Island now, just the Dusky Track, the Wilkins, Rabbit Pass, maybe, and I guess the Three Passes.

They can wait until next year.

All in all it’s pretty clear that I prefer the lesser used tracks, and having huts to myself.

But it’s not sensible to continue with a heavy pack in the immediate future despite plenty of dry summer remaining. My body is calling out for a break.

I’m heading back to Nelson. Oh, and my own bed and clean sheets, and access to fresh food.

Just 48 days in the two huge trips in summer.

Seems that sufficient to satiate my need to get away.

For a while, anyway.

← Day 29 | Queenstown, where they create a new campsite for me